Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has dismissed the notion that Moscow is trying to claim Ukraine as part of its area of dominance, instead accusing NATO of trying to drag the country into its orbit. The remark came after his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Geneva, on Friday.
"We don't lay claim on spheres of influence, but what NATO does regarding Ukraine definitively shows that NATO perceives Ukraine as part of its zone of influence," Lavrov remarked, responding to a question from UK state-broadcaster BBC. He added that the US-led West is actively working to expand its influence to more territories in Europe.
"Spheres of influence exist first and foremost thanks to the policies that colonial powers adopted after decolonization happened, because they really didn't want to lose their zones of influence. They invented different ways to hold those territories," he said.
There are plenty of examples, Lavrov added.. One of the latest being Blinken demanding explanations from Kazakhstan as to why it requested the deployment of troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization earlier this month in response to mass protests and rioting, which the government said were fueled by foreign actors. The EU takes a similar approach to the Balkans, he added.
"It's really sad that adult people engage in this sort of contest," Lavrov lamented, saying the latter word in English, "[measuring] who is tougher and who has the bigger something."
This competition is a major reason why global problems like climate change, terrorism, and the threat from pandemics can't be dealt with satisfactorily, he said.